Every year, during the last week of December, Telephone Reference begins receiving calls from go-getter patrons looking for tax forms. For the next four months, staff will be living, breathing, and distributing answers to tax form questions.
Our library distributes a few of the most frequently-requested federal and state forms and booklets, provides links on our OPAC to the IRS and Franchise Tax Board forms pages, prints handouts with urls, phone numbers and filing addresses, and even, at some branches, provides free tax preparation help for seniors and low-income families. Other resources include links to the taxing agencies of each of the other states (Legal Forms Online), and a directory of other places people can go for free tax prep help. This year, we are working with InfoLine Sacramento, who will handle the scheduling of tax prep appointments for three of our branches again this year.
My involvement comes with the management of our Telephone Reference Service (TELIS). Ours is THE phone number for the library system, and from now until April 15, our calls will more and more frequently concern the availability of forms and tax prep help. I poll the branches about which forms they are distributing, whether they are hosting tax prep help, and whether an advance registration or same-day sign-up is required. I will need to prepare the flyers we distribute at the service desks regarding assistance from the two taxing authorities, and keep all the information current for the entire season.
Today, from 12 to 1 p.m. I was alone in Telephone Reference, and by 12:30 there were NINE callers in the queue. By 12:45 they started dropping out, and by 1:00 the queue was manageable, at 1-2 callers. Sigh… I need to ask for a higher staffing level until April 15.